“Hrnggh. Quelle heure est-il? Hanner awr wedi wyth?! Bloody hell.” It seems the sheer shock of our toddler sleeping past 8am this morning forced me to question the issue in French, exclaim in Welsh and then swear in English. Strange thing the brain. There are many great things about parkrun – the free 5k runs that take place every Saturday at 9am all over the country. However, sometimes that start time is just a shade too early. This morning was one of those rare occasions. Having regained linguistic composure, of sorts, I stumbled out of bed at about 8.30am and rushed into the car without ticking many boxes of the usual morning routine. Breakfast, hygiene, stretching and hydration all took a backseat to a hurried arrival at the start line, just in time. My brain was fairly frazzled and I still hadn’t worked out when I started if I was going to go for a quick time, or just enjoy the run. So, inevitably, I did neither.
Last night, when I was sort of planning to turn up I felt fairly confident that I could have a good go at beating my parkrun PB and dipping under 21 minutes for the first time. Yesterday’s 10k was a good speed and felt comfortable. My knee and other niggles felt like they had settled down. I had decided too, that listening to music – normally a no-no for me on parkruns – would help me keep the pace up during the 2-3k lull. I had even got brand new headphones for the occasion.
I reckoned without the unexpected lie-in, however.
Despite clocking a swift first 1k at about 4 minutes, I spent the next 4k running in and out of rhythm. My new, useless, headphones bouncing out of my ears at regular intervals. I was desperate, and I mean desperate, for some water. And my knee, finally, gave up the ghost towards the end.
I’ve not really had any knee trouble since the last ParkRun, I think it must be getting up to a certain pace that really antagonises my IT Band. I finished with a time of 21mins15sec which is still fairly respectable and finishing 65th in a field of over 300 is probably as well as I’ve done.
But, all in all, if you want advice on how to get ready for a race in the morning, don’t do anything I did this morning. And that includes the sausage bap and the Guinness I had afterwards watching the Lions squeak past Australia.